King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette of France had spent a lot of the country's money. The king was sending money to the American colonies to aid them in their fight against Great Britain. The queen was squandering money on clothes, shoes, makeup, hair, and other things for her own entertainment. What she didn't spend on materialistic things, she gambled away at card tables and casinos. France had no money left, and the king wanted to raise taxes on an already poor population.
Storming of the Bastille
The French population felt that the Bastille was a symbol of their corrupt government who didn't care about them. The Bastille was a large fortress used as a prison located in Paris. On July 14, 1789, a mob of angry Frenchmen and -women infiltrated the prison, wanting only to take weapons, gunpowder, ammunition, and other resources to aid in their intention to get the attention of or overthrow the government. Government officials, innocent bystanders, and members of the massive mob all died during the siege, and the day is now remembered in France as le quatorze juillet, (Bastille Day, in English).
A Forced Relocation
A group of women (and some men) marched to the palace in Versailles to demand that the King and Queen lower the prices of bread. Eventually, the mob forced the monarchs back to their palace in Paris to take care of the growing turmoil.
An Attempt to Flee
In 1791, the King had become so stressed by the happenings in Paris, that, at the urging of the Queen, he decided to get the royal family out of the country, leaving the political decisions up to his advisers. He and the Queen tried to get out of France by disguising themselves and their family as middle-class civilians, but someone recognized the King from the picture that had been printed on new French gold coins. The entire royal family was arrested by the locals of Varennes, and returned to Paris under heavy guard.
Abolishing the Monarchy
Wanting to get rid of the crumbling monarchy, the people of France forced King Louis XVI to sign the Constitution of 1791. While the constitution didn't get rid of the monarchy entirely, it certainly limited the powers of the monarchy, and created the 3-bodied government modeled after the newly-created United States of America. It also established the Legislative Assembly, which created an election process for representatives in the new government.
War on Austria
The new 3-bodied government feared that Austria, whose Emperor was Queen Marie Antoinette's brother, would try to reinstate the newly-dismissed monarchs as the true rulers of France. As a preemptive strike, the new government declared war on Austria in order to defend their new republic. After a marginal win at the Battle of Valmy (pictured above) the government decided to hold a new assembly to strengthen this new republic.
French First Republic
In September 1792, the government held a National Convention to rewrite their constitution. During the convention, King Louis XVI was tried and convicted for conspiracy against the liberty of the nation. This conviction formally abolished the monarchy in France.